Health Effects and Sources of Prebiotic Dietary Fiber

Curr Dev Nutr. 2018 Jan 29;2(3):nzy005. doi: 10.1093/cdn/nzy005. eCollection 2018 Mar.


Prebiotic dietary fibers act as carbon sources for primary and secondary fermentation pathways in the colon, and support digestive health in many ways. Fructooligosaccharides, inulin, and galactooligosaccharides are universally agreed-upon prebiotics. The objective of this paper is to summarize the 8 most prominent health benefits of prebiotic dietary fibers that are due to their fermentability by colonic microbiota, as well as summarize the 8 categories of prebiotic dietary fibers that support these health benefits. Although not all categories exhibit similar effects in human studies, all of these categories promote digestive health due to their fermentability. Scientific and regulatory definitions of prebiotics differ greatly, although health benefits of these compounds are uniformly agreed upon to be due to their fermentability by gut microbiota. Scientific evidence suggests that 8 categories of compounds all exhibit health benefits related to their metabolism by colonic taxa.

Keywords: dietary fiber; digestive health; gut microbiome; gut microbiota; prebiotic.

Publication types

  • Review